If losses continue, they could threaten the viability of the bee pollination industry, US Department of Agriculture says.
Washington: Just last year, it seemed there was something to celebrate despite planet Earth’s ongoing honeybee apocalypse: Bee colony losses were down. Not by enough, but they were down.
“It’s better news than it could have been,” said Dennis vanEngelsdorp, a University of Maryland entomology professor who led a survey of bee populations that reported a loss of 23 per cent of bee colonies – less than 30 per cent, the average from 2005 to 2013. “It’s not good news.”
Though scientists cited progress in battles against an Asian mite that has killed many an American bee, they had words of caution.
“One year does not make a trend,” Jeff Pettis, a co-author of the survey who heads the US government’s bee research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, told The New York Times.
Turns out Dr Pettis was right. Dr VanEngelsdorp and other researchers at the Bee Informed Partnership, affiliated with the Department of Agriculture (USDA), just announced more than 40 per cent of honeybee hives died this past year, as the Associated Press reported. The number is preliminary, but is the second-highest annual loss recorded to date.
“What we’re seeing with this bee problem is just a loud signal that there’s some bad things happening with our agro-ecosystems,” study co-author Keith Delaplane, of the University of Georgia, told the AP. “We just happen to notice it with the honeybee because they are so easy to count.”
Full article: Honeybees dying, situation ‘unheard of’ (Sydney Morning Herald)